I have been bugging my friend Tracy Beckmann, for nearly 2 years to get an interview out of her and low and behold in my in box yesterday there it was! I have always been such a fan of Tracy's work and she has been like a mentor to me in so many ways. I assisted with Tracy a few years ago and was so impressed with her passion and her ability to make "anything" happen. Her projects range any where from fashion showrooms to bachelor lofts to office spaces and basketball courts. She is now working on a big hotel project, that I am sure will knock the socks out of us when its done!
Tracy was always interested in interiors from a very early age and knew that design was her calling. Tracy who came up working with Kelly Wearstler (and was actually her first assistant) learned about hospitality design to work on the Avalon Hotel.
Following are some questions I asked Tracy about her design practice and her experiences thus far...
How did you come to be a designer?
I first became interested in interior design when I was 14 years old.
My mother inspired me by constantly reconfiguring each room in the house to maximize it's full living potential. I began apprenticing in a local Interior Design firm in Palos Verdes, California, at 15 years old. I continued working there throughout my high school education to then attend The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Upon graduating from FIDM, I relocated from Palos Verdes to the heart of the Los Angeles design industry and began working with Kelly Wearstler as her first design assistant. My first project...The Avalon Hotel, Beverly Hills. Not a bad start...
What's your favorite color to work with and why?
I love to work with Dunn Edwards Charcoal Grey #DE 6392 "Mink". It has both strong male and feminine qualities and more importantly, is a timeless and luxurious color. I have yet to find a color not complimented by it.
What color combinations do you see using in the future?
I am currently designing a residence in New York City and while having dinner with my client at "Fremont", I was inspired by the fabulous ensemble she was wearing… Chocolate Browns, Warm Taupes, Soft Greys and just a touch of Vanilla.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
Hands down would have to be traveling the world. My recent trip to Costa Rica helped me redefine my understanding of the beauty of color in nature, the blues of the ocean and the greens of the rain forest.
Which interior or furniture designers, past or present, do you most admire?
Barbara Barry has always been one of my contemporary heroes of design. Her elegant and timeless interiors continue to inspire me.
Describe your design theory in 4-6 words.
Modern but deeply rooted in design tradition
What is your signature mark that you always try to implement in a space?
Vintage art, especially from the 60's.
If you could redo any space past or present, what would it be?
The Bonaventure Hotel!!! The classic brutalist interior is a timeless classic space that is just screaming for a makeover. I would love to be the first neo-brutalist interior designer.
What have you learned about having your own business that you wish you knew when you were just starting out?
To keep track of my mileage!
What are your best practices when it comes to client relations?
I am a good listener. I truly care about my clients needs and about their personalities being reflected in my work.
What 5 things does a well designed home need?
Light, color, texture, elegance and a personal point of view. I hate generic "designer interiors".
If you hadn't become a designer, what do you think you would be doing now?
No one loves a party more than me, so I would probably be one hell of an event planner.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself wearing a white bikini while greeting my guests at my own boutique hotel on the beach in an amazing country perhaps in central or South America.